His death is being attributed to natural causes.
The San Antonio Express-News reported on Saturday afternoon that “Scalia arrived at the ranch on Friday and attended a private party with about 40 people. When he did not appear for breakfast, a person associated with the ranch went to his room and found a body.”
Scalia was widely known for his deeply held Catholic beliefs and his often radically conservative views. He vociferously opposed reproductive rights and marriage equality, and often suggested that religion should play a wider role in public life.
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In a statement, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), called Scalia “a man of God, a patriot, and an unwavering defender of the written Constitution and the Rule of Law. He was the solid rock who turned away so many attempts to depart from and distort the Constitution. His fierce loyalty to the Constitution set an unmatched example, not just for judges and lawyers, but for all Americans.”
Scalia’s passing comes at a time just before the Court is set to hear highly anticipated cases on abortion, contraception, and criminal justice and policing cases, among others. It is presumed President Obama will nominate a new justice, a move that, with a GOP-controlled Congress, is almost certain to lead to additional drama during an already spirited election year.
Additional analyses on the implications of Scalia’s death for SCOTUS cases and appointments will be forthcoming.